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Forum topic by TMcG posted 12-30-2010 05:54 AM 1430 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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191 posts in 2425 days

12-30-2010 05:54 AM

Went on my first buying expedition today, which was really a lot of fun, great selection, got to choose from 2 or 3 different candidate species and choose my own boards etc..

But Holy Moly, is it always that expensive ??!! I got roughly 50 BF of Cherry, 8/4 & 5/4, for a trestle table and it came to $430, the sapele was just a bit cheaper and the mahogany, well forget that !

To be honest, I’d estimated somewhere around half that, which I’m quite happy to admit was probably dead wrong or left out half the components or something equally stupid due to not having done this before but….

And I thought the tools were getting expensive !! :-)



18 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2434 days

#1 posted 12-30-2010 06:48 AM

Yup, the wood is expensive. No two ways around that. Looks like you were somewhere around $8.50/bdft, which for thick, FAS-grade stock (which is what I hope you got) isn’t unheard of at all. I’m surprised the sapele was cheaper than the mahogany. Was it African mahogany (Khaya) or genuine (Honduran)?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 2966 days

#2 posted 12-30-2010 08:10 AM

”But Holy Moly, is it always that expensive ??!”

Nah….only on certain days! LOL sorry, couldn’t resist.

And people always wonder why our work costs so much! :)

-- Childress Woodworks

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191 posts in 2425 days

#3 posted 12-30-2010 03:37 PM

The Sapele was the cheapest of all but, apparently, it ages darker of the 3 in question.

It was Honduran and was 10.10 for the 4/4, 8/4 was a buck and a half more I think.

It was FAS and he planed the faces for me and chopped it to lengths I could fit in my truck so I’m not complaining about the vendor at all, just a little shocked as to how quickly it adds up, now wonder everything gets made from 4/4 glue ups !!

I did keep that oak, got a portable miller to come by on the way home from another job, currently stacked and drying


View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2408 days

#4 posted 12-30-2010 04:00 PM

Ah! The joy of being a woodworker. Wood may not be cheap, but you know you have something nice when your done. Sounds like it will be a beautiful table when your done.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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191 posts in 2425 days

#5 posted 12-30-2010 05:06 PM

LOL, indeed ! Love the tag, and I sure hope the table works out how it currently appears in my minds eye

I’ll certainly be going slow and steady on this one


View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 2824 days

#6 posted 12-30-2010 06:14 PM

I’ve never made a trip to the lumber store and have gotten “just what I needed”. I always end up buying a few extra boards or seeing something that I like, and buying it because the next time I buy wood it won’t be there. Yesterday I made a trip and was “suppose” to buy $100 of maple and purple heart, it happened to be a busy day and I was about the 5th person in line so I figured I would look around a bit, as I was looking I came across a 14” wide piece of 4/4 cherry that was in their 6’ short hack, this pile usually has 8” wide or less.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2904 days

#7 posted 12-30-2010 07:06 PM

Yep, good wood costs big bucks. I think the wood is the most expensive part of the the hobby. At least with the tools you can buy them and pay for them and be done with it…the wood just keeps costing :-)

One thing that helps is if you have a woodworking guild or club near you that you can join, sometimes you can get a discount at certain lumber companies. Here they will sell the wood to us at wholesale rates if you belong to the guild.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View TheDane's profile


4939 posts in 3087 days

#8 posted 12-30-2010 07:43 PM

Depending on where you buy your lumber, sticker shock can hit you pretty hard.

For example, in their Weekly ad, a local big box advertises ‘Sale Prices’ on Cherry Hardwood Boards:

1×4x4’ 17.79
1×4x6’ 26.98

1×6x4’ 26.99
1×6x6’ 39.94

These are shrink-wrapped S4S in ‘nominal sizes’, and if you extrapolate them to the price per board foot (where a board foot is 144 cubic inches):
396 sq in x .75 = 297 cu in / 144 = 2.0625 BF or $19.37 per board foot.

Needless to say, I only buy from the big box in an emergency!

There are some good deals to be had if you shop for them … I buy a lot of my stock (4/4, 5/4, and 8/4) from a cabinet shop in the next town and one of my pals just picked up 50 BF of kiln-dried, 7/8” red oak in 6” to 8” widths for $65 from a millwork shop in a farm town about 50 miles away.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View AaronK's profile (online now)


1438 posts in 2888 days

#9 posted 12-30-2010 08:16 PM

tony: try looking at local sources for lumber. I “scored” a bunch of cherry for $1 a bdft from a local guy with some land and a small sawmill. its not FAS grade, but its not bad either – it has a lot of character. Some pieces are clean and straight, others are really curly or have a lot of ray fleck. If this is just a hobby for you, consider paying less for a mixed bag of lumber – it’ll all be from one tree, and it will lend your work (at least to you) a sense of coming from your regional geography.

View terrilynne's profile


834 posts in 2317 days

#10 posted 12-30-2010 08:20 PM

That’s why I save every little piece, it’s like gold!

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 2425 days

#11 posted 12-31-2010 12:07 AM

I’d love a local source, as it was the place I went to was an hour and a half away, lumber vendors seem to be a bit skinny on the ground in southwest connecticut.

Guess I’m back to the oak scavenge I recently scored but what do you do in the 12 mths it takes to dry ! :-)


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1438 posts in 2888 days

#12 posted 12-31-2010 12:14 AM

yeah, southwest CT might not be that great for local sawmills. Still, check around. NORTHwest CT might be really good and might make the drive worth it. good luck!

View shipwright's profile


7096 posts in 2222 days

#13 posted 12-31-2010 04:04 AM

High end wood is expensive by definition but there ways to maximize your return. One is resawing and veneering
with your precious woods. Another is to take the local “cheap” wood (in my area soft maple is cheap) and make it special because of what you do with it rather than what it already was. Stains, dyes, grain matching, finishes, carving, bending, laminating… can make some fairly cheap wood pretty special.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View TMcG's profile


191 posts in 2425 days

#14 posted 12-31-2010 05:37 PM

Good point Shipwright, I was thinking about putting an inlay “bead” around the edge of this table but that approach would certainly maximize the use in general

I’ve already found myself glancing at the offcuts/leftovers from a couple of cutting boards wondering how I could use them for something


View CampD's profile


1464 posts in 2910 days

#15 posted 12-31-2010 06:09 PM

You have to come a bit father north into the Berkshires, lots of little mills up here.

-- Doug...

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